North Korean Missile Likely Broke Up on Re-entry, US Official Says
A missile that North Korea claimed had the range to hit targets anywhere in the United States most likely broke up as it re-entered the earth’s atmosphere, a U.S. official said on Saturday, Dec. 2, reported Fox.
The official also reportedly said that a search is underway by nations allied with the United States to recover what is left of the warhead after it fell into the sea near the Japanese coast on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
The announcement suggests that even if the missile could reach the U.S. mainland, it would fracture on its way down and be incapable of hitting its target.
The apparently encouraging news comes in the wake of renewed concerns about North Korea’s nuclear strike capability as the rogue nation broke a two-month pause in weapons testing with the launch of its “most powerful ICBM” yet, dubbed the Hwasong-15.
“The ICBM Hwasong-15 type weaponry system is an intercontinental ballistic rocket tipped with super-large heavy warhead. which is capable of striking the whole mainland of the U.S,” North Korea’s Central News Agency, a mouth piece of the communist party, said on Nov. 29. According to North Korean state media the ICBM flew for 53 minutes and reached heights of nearly 2,800 miles (4,500 kilometers).
While a technical analysis of the missile’s flight is still pending, the U.S. official said it had “problems with re-entry.”
According to Fox, South Korean military intelligence has carried out an assessment of the test launch and communicated its findings to the United States.
President Moon Jae-in reportedly provided President Donald Trump with an update by phone on Thursday night, Nov. 30.
Seoul’s Office of the President stated on Friday, Dec. 1, that the two leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to increase pressure and sanctions on North Korea in order to check the regime’s nuclear ambitions.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that the Hwasong-15 missile was potentially capable of striking targets as far away as 8,100 miles (13,000 kilometers), putting Washington within reach.
Despite revelations about the reported fragmentation of the two-stage liquid-fuel missile, this latest development in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is concerning as it showcases an ability the regime previously didn’t have. It also signals the regime’s intent to develop weapons capable of attacking the United States.
While North Korea has threatened the U.S. mainland for months with nuclear weapons, intelligence and military experts said the regime lacked the ability to effectively deliver a nuclear warhead—this has now changed.
Following the ICBM missile test on Nov. 27, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said that the missiles North Korea is developing “could threaten everywhere in the world.”
North Korea has admitted that it is using its nuclear weapons program as a way to pressure the United States and to protect its regime. Speaking at the White House following a 12-day Trip to Asia, Trump said on Nov. 15, “We will not allow this twisted dictatorship to hold the world hostage to nuclear blackmail.”
Since coming to office in January, Trump has taken a different approach from previous administrations to the North Korean issue.
Trump has vowed he will not accept North Korea putting American lives and interests at risk. He has said that the only solution to the crisis is a complete denuclearization of North Korea.
To put pressure on North Korea, Trump has threatened to use military force if the United States or its allies are threatened. He has vowed to build up the U.S. military and has made agreements with U.S. allies in the region to sell them high-quality American military equipment.
In addition, Trump has put pressure on China and Russia to help deal with the North Korean situation.
Trump met for hours in person with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a visit to China earlier this month.
On Thursday, Nov. 30, Trump said that an envoy China sent to North Korea shortly after the meeting hadn’t yielded any results.
“The Chinese Envoy, who just returned from North Korea, seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man,” Trump wrote in a tweet.
“Hard to believe his people, and the military, put up with living in such horrible conditions. Russia and China condemned the launch,” he added.
The Chinese Envoy, who just returned from North Korea, seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man. Hard to believe his people, and the military, put up with living in such horrible conditions. Russia and China condemned the launch.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
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